British Composer, Pianist, Singer-Songwriter Errollyn Wallen to Perform at Symphony Space, 2/21
Belize-born and London-based composer, singer-songwriter, and pianist Errollyn Wallen takes the stage at Symphony Space on Friday, February 21 (7:30 pm) for an evening of her genre-defying music. The program includes two world premieres and five US premieres, heard in performances by Wallen, the Hartt Quartet, the Miller-Porfiris Duo, baritone Fredrick Redd, and writer David Grand. The concert takes place at the Leonard Nimoy Thalia as part of The Music of Now Series, which runs through the end of March.
Tickets are $32, $27 for members, and $20 for those under 30, available at www.symphonyspace.org.
Errollyn Wallen's music blurs the line between sophisticated pop/cabaret songwriting and contemporary art music. Her set at last year's The Music of Now Marathon was a highlight of the day, revealing witty and expressive compositions, crystalline piano technique, a warm and alluring vocal style, and a creative vision that transcends categories. On her upcoming show at Symphony Space, the music is all her own, except for an opening prelude by J. S. Bach.
Says Wallen, "You will be hearing a wide range of music from my catalogue of works - including excerpts from my operas, chamber works, songs from The Errollyn Wallen Songbook and works specially composed for this concert. We are also excited to be presenting the first glimpse from David Grand's great new novel, Mount Terminus, set to my music. David Grand himself will be reading. The novel will be published on March 4th."
J.S. Bach: Prelude No. 19, Well-Tempered Clavier, Book 2 in A major
Waltz for Jean-Michel Bernard - WORLD PREMIERE
Errollyn Wallen, piano
Errollyn Wallen, voice and piano
Five Postcards - NY PREMIERE
Anton Miller, violin; Rita Porfiris, viola
Anton Miller, violin; Errollyn Wallen, piano
My Feet May Take a Little While
Ed's Painting Aria from YES
Fredrick Redd, baritone; Errollyn Wallen, piano
Second String Quartet, Mvt. III - WORLD PREMIERE
Set to an excerpt from David Grand's Mount Terminus
Hartt Quartet; David Grand, author and speaker
Songs from The Errollyn Wallen Songbook
Bridge of Sighs - US PREMIERE
Jordan Town - US PREMIERE
Road - US PREMIERE
When I am Laid in Earth (Henry Purcell, arr. Wallen) - US PREMIERE
North - US PREMIERE
The Hartt Quartet; Errollyn Wallen, voice and piano
Errollyn Wallen was born in Belize and came to London aged two. As a child she started training as a dancer, studying for a time at Dance Theatre of Harlem and, while still a teenager, won a poetry competition judged by Philip Larkin and Ted Hughes. She studied piano with Edith Vogel, and music at Goldsmiths', King's College, London and King's College, Cambridge. In 1990 she founded the group Ensemble X, with the credo, "We don't break down barriers in music...we don't see any."
International recognition came in 1994 with Concerto for Percussion and Orchestra for the BBC which was televised worldwide and performed in the 1998 BBC Proms, also representing the UK in Festival Internacional Cervantino in Mexico in 2006. Her multi-media show Jordan Town was a hit at the Edinburgh Festival in 2001. She embraced opera, enjoying critical successes with Another America: Earth at the Linbury (2003) and Another America: Fire at Sadler's Wells (2004). The Silent Twins was a sensation at Almeida Opera (2007) and Cautionary Tales (Opera North, 2011) was immediately revived in 2012.
A featured composer at the Tanglewood, Composers Now, Monadnock Music, and Other Minds festivals in the US, her strong affinity with America is evident in Mighty River, for the Philharmonia in 2007. Her nine other orchestral works include Spirit Symphony: Speed-Dating for Two Orchestras, which won the British Composer Award 2005.
She has written and performed many songs, including "Daedalus," which was arranged for the Brodsky Quartet in 2005. In 2012, her solo performance of "Daedalus" became the title song of the BBC TV drama series, One Night. She also composed the show's FIPA d'Or award-winning score. All Errollyn's albums - Meet Me at Harold Moores, The Girl in My Alphabet, and Errollyn - have been to outer space on NASA's STS-115 mission.
In March, Welsh National Opera is presenting her new opera, ANON, for which she also wrote the libretto. It was workshopped earlier this year in New York by Center for Contemporary Opera. She is currently composing her thirteenth opera, Sabina, to David Pountney's libretto, as well as a new work for St. Paul's Cathedral Choir and a large work for City of London Festival commemorating the First World War. Errollyn Wallen was awarded the MBE in 2007 for services to music and, in 2013, was awarded the Ivor Novello Award for Classical Music.
Symphony Space traces its beginnings to a free marathon concert, Wall to Wall Bach, held in 1978 and organized by co-founders Isaiah Sheffer and Allan Miller. The music marathon then drew thousands of visitors and has since become one of the organization's signature events. Today Symphony Space presents more than 600 events each season, including music, dance, theater, film, and literary readings. Some of its best known programs include Selected Shorts, a reading of short stories by stars of stage and screen, and one of the most popular series on public radio; the Thalia Film Club, a trendy film club hosted by Marshall Fine featuring pre-release screenings and behind-the-scenes conversations with film stars; Just Kidding, one of the most talked about family entertainment series around town; and, more recently, The Music of Now, presenting an eclectic range of music in all styles and sensibilities, focusing on emerging artists and unusual work. Uptown Showdown has been called "New York's best comedy series" by New York magazine. For more information, visit symphonyspace.org.
Symphony Space is located at 2537 Broadway at 95th Street. Box office hours are Tuesday through Sunday, 1 pm - 6 pm, open two hours prior to performances and events. Tickets can also be purchased through www.symphonyspace.org, or by calling 212/864-5400.